The heat goes off as team heads to world champs

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Scott Mor­gan Turn to P3

Even in tem­per­a­tures of more than 40 de­grees, New Zealand’s un­der-19 Amer­i­can foot­ball side is Ocea­nia’s best.

The team beat Aus­tralia 12-7 in swel­ter­ing Can­berra heat last month, to qual­ify for the Ju­nior World Cham­pi­onships in Can­ton, Ohio, in June.

They’ll take on Swe­den, Ja­pan, Canada and the United States at the tour­na­ment.

But be­fore qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the world champs, the play­ers knew they’d have to pre­pare for the in­tense heat of an Aus­tralian sum­mer.

“We had a lot of train­ing with our pads and hel­mets on,” run­ning back Matt Gandy says.

“And we were train­ing in the hottest part of the day in­stead of the evening.”

The 17-year-old Kings­land res­i­dent also plays cen­tre for the St Peters Col­lege first 15 rugby side, but says Amer­i­can foot­ball might have to take prece­dence for the next few months.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Hard hit­ting: New Zealand un­der-19 Amer­i­can foot­ball reps Jared Wynne, left, and Matt Gandy are part of the squad that qual­i­fied for the world champs in Ohio af­ter de­feat­ing Aus­tralia last month.

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